General Election candidate meets minister over South Tyneside green belt housing plans

A General Election candidate has met with a minister to discuss his concerns over plans to build on green belt land.

Conservative contestant Nick Oliver, who is seeking to overturn a 17,263 Labour majority in Jarrow on December 12, met with housing and planning minister Esther McVey in the North East to outline his worries.

He instead believes that South Tyneside Council should target its upcoming Local Plan at regenerating Jarrow and Hebburn town centres with affordable eco-friendly housing for young families near where jobs will be created.

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Following a draft document published earlier this year, up to 2,391 homes could be built on 18 green belt sites across the borough after planners insisted it would not be “feasible” to restrict work to brown field sites only.

Jarrow Conservative candidate Nick Oliver, left, with Esther McVey.Jarrow Conservative candidate Nick Oliver, left, with Esther McVey.
Jarrow Conservative candidate Nick Oliver, left, with Esther McVey.

But Mr Oliver, speaking after meeting Ms McVey in Darlington, said: "We need an imaginative approach that both protects the green belt and directs new development to where it is need most.

“Jarrow is well places to attract business investment and new jobs and we need to be planning with that in mind."Ms McVey responded: "We want to regenerate areas.

“We want to do brown field sites first. We've got to protect the green belt. We have to look after the environment. That's what the Conservative Party does."

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The Labour-run council insists a “long process” of public consultation over the proposals will take place with the final plan not expected to be approved until 2021.

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